NAA designation matters when seeking auctioneers

(This article appeared in the July 2, 2015 edition of USA TODAY in the Auction Showcase section.)

By Curtis Kitchen

Ask someone on the street what they first think of when they hear “auction,” and the typical response usually will be to the effect of “fast talking,” or “guy talking really fast.”

What doesn’t usually cross a person’s mind, but should, is how knowledgeable an auction professional is – whether it is knowing the story regarding specific lots (the auction industry’s term for items); knowing how to best balance a seller’s personal and business goals; or how to emotionally move a bidding public during a benefit auction.

That kind of knowledge may not seem all that important to the general public, but what if you’re in charge of hosting a benefit event? Or, what if a set of life circumstances leaves you in need of someone who can bridge the gap between your family’s needs and the business side of estate sales?

Through their organization’s mission of providing critical resources to auction professionals to enhance their skills and successes, National Auctioneer Association members spend a great deal of their time not only working for their clients, but also continuing their own education in order to better serve those types of needs.

NAA’s membership consists of a wide array of interests and specialties ranging from real estate and fine arts to livestock, sports memorabilia, general personal property, benefit auctions and more. Because of that, the NAA Education Institute keeps constant watch on the educational needs of its members.
Governed by a board of Trustees, the Education Institute is tasked with ensuring the viability and quality of NAA’s educational programs, including: online education; freestanding educational summits; sessions at the NAA’s annual Conference and Show; as well as through the designation program.

“A designation shows that not only are auctioneers committed to their specialty, but they are also committed to keeping up with the profession and furthering their education,” said Aaron Ensminger, NAA Director of Education. “A client will know that an auction professional who holds a designation knows how to run an auction, yes, but also that the professional they’ve chosen is informed of the latest trends and technologies available to them.”

Current NAA designations include: Accredited Auctioneer of Real Estate (AARE); Auction Marketing & Management (AMM); Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS); Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI); Certified Estate Specialist (CES); Graduate Personal Property Appraiser; and, Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

At, buyers and sellers can search for NAA members by designation. A gold button at the top of the page labeled “Find an NAA Auction Professional” opens the way to locating the NAA professional who best fits your need locally, regionally or even nationally.

Start your search at

NAA Designations & Definitions
- Accredited Auction of Real Estate (AARE): Created to provide auctioneers with education and advanced training in the selling of real estate at auction.
- Auction Marketing and Management (AMM): Provides training in today’s tech and marketing strategies, as well as instruction on how to use tech to improve your business.
- Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS): Helps auctioneers learn to plan and conduct benefit auction and establish a successful and profitable benefit auction business.
- Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI): A three-year course of study that focuses on developing the skills required to operate a successful auction firm and business.
- Certified Estate Specialist (CES): Provides auctioneers with custom education in conduction personal property estate auctions.
- Graduate Personal Property Appraiser (GPPA): Enhances appraisal skills and knowledge, teaching students the responsibilities of being an appraiser.
- Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP): A government designation that creates standards for professional appraisal practice.